Vice President Kamala Harris’ reaction to the Roe v. Wade draft opinion was swift. “Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of Roe v. Wade against women,” Harris wrote in a tweet following the May 2 leak. “The rights of all Americans are at risk. This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have.”
Republican legislators in states across the country are weaponizing the use of Roe v. Wade against women.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 3, 2022
The rights of all Americans are at risk. This is the time to fight for women and our country with everything we have.
For years Harris has championed bodily autonomy and fought to expand women’s access to reproductive healthcare. And while lawmakers on the right move toward stripping women of their right to choose, she is calling on Americans to get even more engaged. In a private call last week, the former U.S. Senator made clear that though conservatives in Congress are working to restrict privileges, she’ll be working with the president to ensure that the American people continue to see their rights expanded. As the country gears up for a pivotal midterm election, that means encouraging voters to support those candidates who seek to do the same.
“I would urge folks to vote for pro-choice candidates at a local, state, and federal level,” Harris told reporters. “Because even when you look at some of the laws that impact some of these states, it’s going to be local officials and state officials who will have the power of discretion to decide how some of these rules and laws are going to be enforced.”
Harris understands first-hand the power of local elections. Before she entered the halls of Congress, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California. Local elections, she asserts, are the game changers that can determine the trajectory of abortion rights in this country. Though the Supreme Court is likely to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, state’s rights allow for local leaders to decide the best course of action for their constituents. In blue states, that will often mean continued abortion access, but political analysts see the SCOTUS decision making it easier for red states, particularly in the South, to severely restrict these rights.
It’s why Harris points to the timeline. The SCOTUS decision is likely to be handed down in June—the same month as the Primary elections. Whether or not the court goes the way of the leaked draft, abortion rights will be a mobilizing issue at the ballot box. It’s why Harris says people need to be reminded of the freedoms they possess.
“Right now it’s really important that we inform people of the rights they currently have because I do believe especially based on the age of a woman or anybody, their experience with this issue is a bit different and we have to meet people where they are. So to that end, I think there’s still some work to be done to remind people of the rights they have that they cannot take for granted.”